The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Wednesday, February 13, ordered the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Service (DSS) to arrest the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The tribunal also asked the security agencies to produce Justice Onnoghen at the CCT on Friday, February 15, for commencement of trial.
The CCT chairman, Danladi Umar, having heard an application by the prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Umar, directed the inspector general of police and the director general of the DSS to execute the arrest warrant.
The CCT chairman said the order is to ensure that Justice Onnoghen was brought before it on the adjourned date.
His order followed an application made by the federal government for a bench warrant against the suspended CJN after he failed to appear before the CCT three times.
The prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN) said it is sad that the defendant was not in court.
He said: “Under the circumstances, it is my sad duty to address the tribunal on S6(1) of the Practice Direction of the Tribunal. I hereby humbly apply for a warrant of arrest against the defendant."
However objecting to the request, the defence counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) urged the tribunal to refuse the application to issue bench warrant for several reasons.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the CCT had adjourned the trial of Justice Onnoghen indefinitely.
The trial which earlier resumed on Monday, January 28, saw argument from the defence for a sine dine adjournment following ruling on a stay of prosecution application filed before the Appeal Court by the CJN. The request was not objected by counsels from the prosecution.
However, on Monday, February 4, following ruling of an Appeal Court judgement on the matter, the CCT chairman, Danladi Umar ordered that the embattled Justice Onnoghen must appear before him in person before he can proceed with the trial.
Umar gave the directive after trade of words between counsels to Justice Onnoghen led by Adegboyega Awolowo (SAN) and the CCT chairman over the failure of the suspended CJN to appear at his ongoing trial at the CCT.
Citing Section 35 and 36 of the Constitution (1999 as amended) the defence counsel said the CCT needs to first certify the case against it on integrity and impartiality before proceeding with the trial.
He also said that in such hearings of interlocutory application of objection to the charge all matters should be heard before trial proper.
According to Awomolo, the CCT chairman had in an earlier hearing adjourned the matter to hear all the pending applications.
He said: “The defendant is entitled to fair trial and fair hearing and the constitution has mandated that he must be afforded every facility to establish his innocence.
"A criminal trial is a serious matter that affects the liberty of a citizen. The application that the tribunal should issue a bench warrant is persecuting by the prosecution. The tribunal is urged to preserve the defendant’s rights," the defence counsel prayed the tribunal.
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